More granular IT controls give Apple iOS 7 new appeal in the enterprise -- where it will be the top smartphone OS until at least 2016, analysts say.
3. iOS 7 app management is more precise.
iOS includes a variety of new MDM tools, highlighted by its "open in" management feature, which lets IT dictate which apps can open given documents. This ensures that sensitive documents can't be exposed to security flaws in unapproved apps.
Another potential benefit of this feature: It, too, reinforces the business-personal balance. Before, if a user opened a file such as a PDF in an app that IT did not control, iOS would keep a copy of the file even if IT wiped the device of corporate content. With iOS 7, enterprises can circumvent this problem by requiring that users install a dedicated, IT-controlled PDF reader. IT can then use "open in" to prevent users from opening corporate documents with non-approved apps.
iOS 7 will also introduce features that allow IT managers to provision devices more quickly.
4. iOS 7 will be easier for enterprises to license.
In the past, when enterprises purchased apps for employees' iPhones, the licenses lasted only as long as the employee stayed with the company. If someone left the company, her business apps couldn't be reused by a new employee. With iOS 7, Apple introduces a new model where the enterprise controls corporate app licenses, and IT can transfer them as necessary. Dulaney said the new policy is an example of how Apple doesn't directly engage with enterprise users but still "kind of wanders in and gets it right over time."
5. Apple is going to sell a ton of iPhone 5Cs.
Much has been made of the iPhone 5C's prospects in budget-conscious emerging markets, where iOS gets resoundingly trashed by Android. In fact, the iPhone 5C could be a huge seller everywhere. An Ask.com survey found that 46% of its iPhone users plan to upgrade to an iPhone 5S as soon as it's available, but that just over 60% would opt for the cheaper 5C if it is also available. That's just one online survey, but analysts are optimistic, too, especially about the device's role in the enterprise.
Many businesses provide employees with the aging iPhone 4 for free but require that workers chip in if they want to use newer, more expensive models, pointed out Gartner analyst Carolina Milanesi in an interview. The iPhone 5C is unlikely to cost much more than the allowance enterprises are already offering, she said. The 5C might not have other iPhones' metal build, but it should boast snappy functionality that could sway many users. Milanesi expects the 5C to increase iOS 7's penetration of the business market. Dulaney said he expects iOS to be the top enterprise smartphone platform until at least 2016.
6. The iPhone 5S's fingerprint scanner could offer substantial security enhancements.
In his report, Dulaney noted that some of iOS 7's enhancements might still fall short in high-security environments. For instance, the update adds third-party app encryption -- but the feature still relies on the user's pass code, which is based on only four characters. The iPhone 5S could help enterprises overcome lingering trepidation, though, with its fingerprint scanner. The feature is expected to allow apps to use biometrics for authentication. If this functionality can be married to the enterprise tools, the dual authentication could keep sensitive content doubly secure. As a result, businesses could have much less to fear from lost or stolen devices.
Learn more about BYOD, MDM and other topics by attending the Interop conference track on Mobility in New York from Sept. 30 to Oct. 4.
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